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Land trust buys Lummi Island quarry site for $1.08 million

This aerial photo taken in 2013 shows the Lummi Rock quarry on the east side of Lummi Island. The Lummi Island Heritage Trust has bought the quarry land for a little over $1 million to protect it and restore the 20 acres altered by mining activity.
This aerial photo taken in 2013 shows the Lummi Rock quarry on the east side of Lummi Island. The Lummi Island Heritage Trust has bought the quarry land for a little over $1 million to protect it and restore the 20 acres altered by mining activity. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The Lummi Island Heritage Trust has bought 105 acres of quarry land on the island for $1.08 million for conservation, low-impact recreation and saltwater access.

The deal closed Wednesday, Sept. 30. The seller was Resource Transition Consultants, the receiver for Lummi Rock LLC’s quarry and its operator, Aggregates West of Everson.

The land opens onto Smugglers Cove and Hale Passage, on the southeast slope of Lummi Mountain, the trust said Monday, Oct. 5, in announcing the purchase.

“Many islanders have worked for many years on this project and the Heritage Trust is very pleased to have finally purchased and protected the land,” Rebecca Rettmer, executive director for the nonprofit trust, said in an interview.

“This is a big accomplishment for us and we are excited for the next phase of the project, which will be to determine the best ways to restore the damaged landscape, with an eye toward creating a safe, public access preserve in the future,” she added.

Lummi Rock’s mining operations were on 20 acres.

The trust said its goal is to restore an eyesore caused by mining activities to a natural state to benefit marine life.

Other details of the property include:

▪ more than 80 acres of mature forest habitat for native plants and wildlife.

▪ 4,000 feet of shoreline.

▪ four pocket beaches near eelgrass beds, which are important habitat for migrating juvenile salmon and forage fish.

▪ that it abuts prime commercial and recreational fishing and crabbing waters.

The trust will work on reclamation — a first for the trust — for the 20 acres that were mined, and restore about 500 feet of shoreline that were artificially armored so gravel and rock could be barged from the mine.

The purchase and restoration will occur in three parts. People can learn more during a Tuesday, Oct. 20, town hall at the Lummi Island Grange.

The first phase involved buying the land and raising the money to do so. Toward that end, the trust got grants and private donations that now total a little over $1.1 million.

But it is still raising another $370,000 to pay for other costs related to the acquisition and stewardship of the parcel, Rettmer said.

A number of other organizations are part of the project, according to trust officials. They include Whatcom County, which committed $400,000 toward the purchase; the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program, which donated $600,000; and the Rose Foundation, which gave $100,000 to study what can be done to restore the property.

However, the property won’t be open to the public until a restoration plan has been completed and safety issues addressed.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

Quarry meeting

What: Overview of the project to restore 105 acres of rock quarry property bought by Lummi Island Heritage Trust for conservation and recreation.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Where: Lummi Island Grange, 2215 N. Nugent Road

Details: liht.org, info@liht.org, and 360-758-7997.

To help

Lummi Island Heritage Trust is raising $370,000 for costs related to the acquisition and management of the former quarry land on the southeast side of Lummi Island.

Donations are tax deductible.

To learn more and to donate: liht.org, info@liht.org, and 360-758-7997.

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